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Dangerous idea: Plutonium powered nuclear facilities planned for space

the Obama administration would turn to nuclear power in space — and on Earth.
We have been seeing — for two months now — the damage of technology run amok in the Gulf of Mexico. Consider the consequences of dangerous, expensive, unnecessary nuclear-powered technology running amok above our heads

Obama Seeks to Revive Space Nuclear Power, Karl Grossman, June 25, 2010 Despite its huge dangers, the Obama administration is seeking to revive the use of nuclear power in space. It wants the U.S. to produce the plutonium isotope that has been used for electric generation in space and is also looking to build nuclear-propelled rockets for missions to Mars...Plutonium-238 has been used to generate electricity on space probes and rovers and also satellites. But in 1964 a satellite with a plutonium-fueled generator, after failing to achieve orbit, fell to Earth, breaking up as it hit the atmosphere and dispersing 2.1 pounds of Pu-238 from its SNAP — (for Systems Nuclear Auxiliary Power) 9A system.

A study by a group of European health and radiation protection agencies reported that “a worldwide soil sampling program in 1970 showed SNAP-9A debris present at all continents and at all latitudes.” Dr. John Gofman, professor of medical physics at the University of California at Berkeley, long linked that fall-out to an increase of lung cancer on Earth. The accident caused NASA to pioneer the use of solar panels on satellites……..in a report titled “Start-up Plan for Plutonium-238 Production for Radioisotope Power Systems” just sent to Congress, the DOE, noting it was acting “consistent with the President’s request,” is calling for a return of Pu-238 production by the U.S……….

Meanwhile, the trade publication Space News, in a March 1 editorial — “Going Nuclear” — applauded the Obama 2011 proposed budget for not only having $30 million in it for Pu-238 production but because it:

…also includes support for nuclear thermal propulsion and nuclear electric propulsion research under a $650 million ExplorationTechnology and Demonstration funding line projected to triple by 2013……

the Obama administration would turn to nuclear power in space — and on Earth.
We have been seeing — for two months now — the damage of technology run amok in the Gulf of Mexico. Consider the consequences of dangerous, expensive, unnecessary nuclear-powered technology running amok above our heads. Karl Grossman: Obama Seeks to Revive Space Nuclear Power

June 26, 2010 - Posted by | technology, USA | , , , , , , , ,

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